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Prison for three workers who stole from Testimonio II site

testimonio
Testimonio II is a complex that includes public housing, private apartments, villas, an international school and a daycare centre - © Groupe Marzocco

After their day’s shift, they went back to the site and stole around fifty tools and constructtion materials with an estimated total value of €15,000. 

Heads bowed and sheepish. That is how the three Romanians looked in the box at the flagrante delicto hearing on Tuesday 9 April, after two nights behind bars since their arrest. With the help of an interpreter, they were asked to explain the events on the night of 6 to 7 April.

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Let’s rewind a little. The manager of the site, in the Larvotto district, received an intruder alert on his telephone. The security camera had just detected some people on the site. He contacted the police, who set up surveillance. When the three men left the site two hours later, they were apprehended, each of them carrying a bag full of power tools, mainly by the sought-after Hilti brand.

A wider investigation underway

While the construction workers were on trial for the loot they took this month, it would appear that this is not the first time. At least according to Crudeli and SATRI, the two companies that were victims of the thefts. The public prosecutor confirmed that “a wider investigation is underway.” Because if the perpetrators were caught, it was thanks to the joint action taken by five companies in all, with cameras and increased security measures at the site, and the Police Department, who stepped up their rounds.

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As the presiding judge explained, after their day’s work, the three men, aged between 22 and 37, went to Menton to celebrate the birthday of one of their colleagues, in accommodation provided free of charge by their employer, SBM Façade, before returning to the site. A pass is needed to get in, so they climbed over fencing instead, and then went through a door which, it seems, they had blocked using a piece of cloth. Florestan Bellizona held up pictures of toolboxes that had been hacked open with an angle grinder and the contents strewn about.

The three defendants confessed to having already stolen together, and to having sold the objects, a laser, a drill and an angle grinder, for several hundred euros. “With salaries of between €2,200 and €2,700 and no rent to pay, you should be able to live comfortably. Why did you steal?” asked the presiding judge. “It was a stupid mistake,” replied the accused in unison.

Eight months in prison

“This case could have been tried before the criminal court because this is no ordinary theft,” said the prosecutor, stressing that the offences were committed at night, as a group, with a break-in that targeted their employer. “They would have been facing 15 years in prison,” added the prosecution. “These are not petty thieves, their actions were premeditated.” Given the “serious” offences, the prosecution requested a sentence of 18 months in prison.

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A request that incensed the three defence lawyers, who asked for lenience. “They’re just idiots,” said barrister Sarah Caminiti-Rolland. “He had a fairly well-paid job, and he’s thrown that away, but you should understand that this is a 22-year-old boy, living away from his family, who let himself be led,” Robin Svara added. “He realises the seriousness of his actions,” concluded Violaine Rapaire. The accused, one of which had tears in his eyes, apologised profusely.

The verdict was handed down: the court sentenced the three men to eight months in prison and ordered that they remain in custody. As for the two companies, which are claiming damages through their respective project managers, they were both referred to the claims court, which will establish the exact amount due to them.